Help! I have nothing in common with son
Dear Carolyn • My only son is 8 and is all boy — he’s into loud noises, sports and being outdoors, and has no interest in unnecessary chitchat. I wouldn’t trade him for the world, but sometimes I can’t believe he came from me: talker, analyzer, world-class shopper, and above all an indoor girl. I’m wondering how to stay connected with him as he gets older. I go to his games, but that’s more of a thing he shares with his dad and I feel a bit like an outsider there. Asking questions about his interests has limited mileage because he’s simply not that talkative — he’s more of a doer. How do I stay relevant to a kid who’s the opposite of me?
Dear Maryland • So, you and his dad are together? If so, what binds you two together beyond the physical? Many parents and kids with mismatched interests are tightly bonded through caregiving and, as that need diminishes, presence — in which case your being at his games is no small thing. Plus, there are so many diversions people can share without deep analysis. Music, for exaple.
Re: All Boy • Read to him. I was surprised how much my "all-boy" appreciated the time we spent reading the Narnia and His Dark Materials series. He never let on at the time. He’s all grown now and was reminiscing recently. (He’s not a talker either, so that was a surprise, too.)
Dear Anonymous • Perfect, thanks. Also, this mom of sporty boys has found they’re receptive to non-sports when given chances to be, especially one-on-one, especially if the things aren’t pushed on them but instead just left out there to be noticed and joined. One helps me decorate our Christmas trees and has learned how to knit; another is really attuned to nature and science. And on those constant drives to practices and games, we all listen to audiobooks. It’s also on us as parents to notice and feed subtle interests. One son has a freakish sense of taste and smell, for example, to the point of identifying obscure ingredients by scent alone, so I talk to him about food.
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